Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was passed into law in 1996 to set guidelines on health insurance coverage as well as protecting the privacy of consumers and health care providers, among other things.
HIPAA Privacy Rule is divided into two categories: consumer protection and entities who must comply with the privacy rule.
This article hopes to provide basic important information to consumers concerning their rights to privacy when it comes to their medical history including who gets to see it and which third parties may obtain copies of it.
HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Federal Law
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule is protected by Federal Law. It is therefore of vital importance that all covered entities comply with the privacy rule lest they be charged with unlawfully disseminating a patient’s classified medical history to unqualified third parties.
As a consumer, you have to know what these rights cover. Under Federal Law, d entities who must comply with the privacy rule include health insurance companies, health care providers such as medical, dental and mental doctors, medical facilities, drugstores and nursing homes.
Data analysts and entities that process medical information such as billings are also required to follow the privacy rule.
Consumer Privacy Rule
As a consumer or a patient, you have a right to obtain copies of your medical record from specified entities holding your information. As a rule, you should get the requested copies no later than thirty days from the date of request unless the entity seeks for an extension with good reason.
You should know that you may be required to shoulder mailing and printing expenses. Discuss this option with the entity.
You also have the right to request that your medical information be updated or altered in cases where wrong data was inputted. From the date of request, the information should be updated within sixty days unless the entity requests for an extension with viable reason.
In cases where your medical information will be passed-on to another entity by your health insurance or health care provider, you have the right to be informed about this matter prior to sharing this information.
Finally, you should know that your classified medical information may not be shared to your employer and other entities without your consent. Should this information be requested, there has to be a consent form signed by you before the information can be given.
Information covered by the privacy rule includes written medical records, billing information and conversations between doctors and nurses regarding your medical case.